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Biden Holds In-Person Meeting with Families of Americans Held Hostage by Hamas

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On Wednesday morning, President Joe Biden held a private meeting with the families of eight Americans believed to be held hostage by Hamas since the terrorist attacks in Israel on Oct. 7.

Present at the meeting were Yael and Adi Alexander, Ruby and Roy Chen, Ronen and Orna Neutra, Gillian Kaye, Jonathan Dekel-Chen, Aviva, Elan, Shir, and Hanna Siegel, and Liz Naftali. Jon Polin, Rachel Goldberg, and Iris Haggai joined the meeting by phone. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Deputy National Security Advisor Jon Finer were also in attendance.

Biden has engaged in diplomatic efforts, holding calls with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, aiming to secure the release of Americans and all hostages held by Hamas.

The United States’ diplomatic efforts have led to the release of over 100 hostages, including four Americans: Natalie and Judith Raanan (released on Oct. 20), 4-year-old Abigail Eden (released on Nov. 26), and Liat Beinin (released on Nov. 29).

Eight Americans are still deemed “unaccounted for” since the conflict began, including those held hostage. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan will discuss the hostage situation during his visit to Israel this week.

Vice President Kamala Harris and second gentleman Doug Emhoff met with the families on Oct. 27. Biden’s meeting on Wednesday marks his first in-person interaction with the families after previous Zoom discussions in mid-October.

This meeting follows Biden’s recent criticism of Israel’s right-wing government on Tuesday, where he stated that Prime Minister Netanyahu faces a “tough decision to make,” emphasizing the need for change in the current Israeli government.

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